Sandesh Dubey is a Class 10 student from Colaba Municipal Secondary School. Unlike many anxious students preparing for the upcoming boards, he doesn’t rush home after his classes. He heads in a different direction with his books. Nestled next to the Cooperage Ground in Colaba is the Annie Shekar Study Centre, full of students like him. There are five such centres in Colaba.
“I come here every day because this place has a better study environment,” said Dubey. Living in a joint family with seven other people, Dubey needs to be away from home to prepare for the exams. “My house is small, and there’s always a lot of noise,” said Dubey, who lives close to Colaba market. “When I come here, I end up staying for four to five hours because it’s silent and everyone studies seriously. I can also discuss with my friends who come here,” he added.
Students from places as far off as Thane and Dombivli are regulars at study centers. Apart from basic facilities like lights and fans, they are often treated to tea and biscuits.
Narendra Patre, who lives in Dombivli, heads to the study centre after his classes at Siddharth College, and studies for close to five hours before going home. “It’s a good environment to study in and I manage to complete a lot of my portion here,” said Patre.
Many students also resort to gardens or just any odd place under a streetlight to fish out their books. The flight of stairs outside the Asiatic Society Library is constantly buzzing with students much after the sun has set.
Nida Khan of Sophia College and Burhan Fatehi of Wilson College have found the perfect spot on the stairs of the Asiatic Library to study for the HSC exams. “There are too many distractions at home since someone’s constantly watching television or talking over the phone. The Asiatic library is a hideout for me to be with my books, and I continue to stay much after the library has shut at 6pm,” said Khan.
Fatehi prefers the outdoors to his room, where he often ends up playing a videogame or surfing the Internet. “I can concentrate a lot better on my studies when I am away from
home. I often come here during teh college break” added Fatehi.